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Insights / March 28, 2017

Take It Offline

By Abby Breyer

One of the perks of working in tech is our ability to work any time, anywhere. A number of us work from home a day or two a week. A few are 100% remote. Even those of us who are here in the office spend a good portion of the day heads down, headphones on.

It’s no surprise the majority of our day to day team conversation takes place on Slack. This method of communication allows us to work hard, move quickly, and stay productive. We check in briefly when we need to, then keep going. It’s great.

Until it’s not.

Have you tried to solve a serious disagreement via chat? Get a thorough answer to a complex question by text? Successfully collaborate on a long-term project using email?


It can be done, of course. We do it all the time. But at what cost?

When we rely too heavily on digital conversation, we lose out on some of the most critical elements of human communication: context, emotion, clarity, discovery, connection.

We also lose time. Something that could have been hashed out in 30 minutes becomes three hours of bite-size updates in between tasks or the dreaded long-winded written response that offers more questions than answers.

This week, fight your urge to send that chat, text, or email when you encounter trouble or need more information. Instead, take it offline—whether your “it” is a conflict, a question, a concept, or a piece of feedback. Invite the people involved to sit down and talk it through or work it out. Sure, it might be uncomfortable. You may not have the perfect words. It will probably cut into your headphone time. But the resulting conversation is likely to be clear, fast, and effective—not to mention a whole lot more meaningful.